My Personal Systems Disaster & How to Avoid It
Does it seem like I have it all together when it comes to systems?
That wasn’t always the case and I’ve definitely had my fair share of less than perfect systems.
One of the biggest system mistakes I made was when I tried to delegate my client calls.
It was an unmitigated disaster du jour.
I ran through basic training and I handed it off to my team, feeling pretty good about myself and how I was such a boss for delegating this.
The next couple weeks, I got emails from my clients about dropped balls, missing status reports, unclear actions and no next steps.
I was so upset with my team. I couldn’t believe they dropped the ball in such a big way.
They didn’t lead the meeting like an expert.
They didn’t send a post-call follow action report.
They didn’t set the focus for the following week and so many other things.
They missed the little cues that made me indispensable to my clients by making them feel so secure, certain, and taken care of.
I felt like I was back at zero and not only did I have to take client calls back, but I had to fix what they missed AND I had to reestablish trust with my clients.
I had the sinking feeling I shouldn’t have ever handed off the client calls and it would have been soooo much better for me to keep this work on my own.
I couldn’t let go of work because my team couldn’t handle the work as well as I could.
They couldn’t perform to my level so I was stuck on calls because I was the only one who knew how to do it right.
Sounding familiar??? 😂😂
While I was deep in my self pity party, someone tagged me in a comment praising me for giving it to them real and telling them that: if your team is struggling to do something, it's probably your fault as a leader.
The irony couldn’t have been more clear.
I realized that after handling client calls on my own for so long, I subconsciously thought of Client Calls as a singular, one-step item on my to-do list.
You get on the call, you get off. Done.
BUT, I didn’t give my team the full instructions (or the templates that I had built in my personal Gmail account) to create the same results that I got.
No wonder they struggled to run the call and replicate my results – I didn’t give them the tools to do it.
I had to go back to the drawing board and think through all the extras that helped me show up for the call prepared, lead it like an expert and follow up so my clients always felt like we’re on top of things.
After it was all said and done, the client call process was actually 3 separate phases, 8 steps, and 4 templates.
Once I actually walked them through the process, so many Ah-has came through.
They knew exactly how to prepare, facilitate, and close out the call and didn’t miss any more steps.
They knew the goals and purpose of the calls so they could facilitate the call without sounding robotic or freaking out when a client asked for something “off-script”.
And I wasn’t trapped handling all the client calls myself. I cut my hours and I tripled my capacity – all in one shot.
You can hand off even the most complex work to your team.
You can replicate your results.
You can work less…
If you have the systems that are built for delegation and that empower your team.
So how do we do this exactly and avoid these disasters from happening?
Maybe you’ve tried to let go of work, and are disappointed that your team doesn’t seem to be able to handle it.
And each time they drop the ball, you have more and more conviction that no one else can work as well as you.
Well, I’ve been there. My clients have been there and so many of my business besties have been there as well.
And, I’m here to tell you that it’s bullsh*t.
If your team is dropping the ball, it’s WAYYYY more likely that they just don’t have the tools, or guidance to produce the results that you want.
So instead of hoping your team can read your mind and getting disappointed when they don’t, here’s how you can create a system that ACTUALLY gets work off your plate and replicate your results.
1️⃣Define how the process ends and the results. If you want a process that actually produces results, define the results that process is supposed to get.
For me, this was explicitly telling my team that the purpose of weekly client calls was not just update them only on what we were working on, but also to show them that they were constantly listening to them and looking for ways to optimize their businesses.
My clients loved that we answered their questions before they asked them and that they felt so confident in our partnership because we addressed everything from big questions to little, off the cuff requests and comments, to show that we were listening all the time.
With this in my mind, the team was better prepared to lead the meeting. So what end result do you want your process to produce?
2️⃣ Outline each step to fill in the blanks starting and the results you want to end up with. No step is too small.
This can feel overwhelming and burdensome, but for the first draft, you want this to be comprehensive. You can edit it down later, but you don’t want to find out you missed crucial steps when the process is being executed wrong.
Start from the beginning and focus on what am I doing to produce this result?
When I applied this lens, the phases of the client call process became really clear. Phase 1 – preparation and the steps I took to prepare. Phase 2 – Facilitation and how I facilitated those calls and finally, Phase 3 – Wrap-up and all closing actions that made my clients feel oh-so-secure.
3️⃣Gather the resources. What do you use to complete each step of this process? Note all the tools, folders, templates, tech, passwords, everything that you access to complete this work.
I already knew that I needed to hand over the wrap up template to my team, but as I walked through the process, there were 3 other templates that I didn’t consciously think about, but used on a regular basis. These templates would help my team move through the process faster.
So think about all the resources you need to complete this task and get the results that you want.
4️⃣Package the process. Package each step and resources in an easy-to-access way.
Keep it all together in the same folder, document or task so it’s easy to reference. Having to flip back and forth between different documents, softwares and folders to find all the info you need to complete a process is a drag.
It creates confusion and slows down training. Package your process and all of the resources in one place that’s easily accessible for all team members.
Applying this framework to your systems and SOPs you’ll be able to hand off work more quickly.
Your team members will have few questions, they’ll know exactly how to get the results you get so you can let go with confidence that the work will get to your standards.
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